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Eric’s “Sleepers” Issue #3: Boogiemonsters – Riders Of The Storm: The Underwater Album

by Eric on October 8, 2010

“Riders Of The Storm: The Underwater Album”- Boogie Monsters (1994, EMI)

“Honeydips In Gotham”

“Recognized Thresholds Of Negative Stress”

1994 is considered one of the most fruitful and enriching years in the history of Hip-Hop. The Wu-Tang Clan had officially redefined the industry’s standards and Nas delivered a milestone drawing comparisons to icons of the late ’80s, along with Snoop and Dre raising hell on the left coast. You could literally smell the transformation Hip Hop was going through, and the valuable quantity of good albums being released was increasing. At these days and times, the words “slept-on” or ” underrated” would not distinguish the way Boogiemonsters’ “Riders Of The Storm” was decisively overlooked. These were some “college-dudes” who had met at the Virginia State University and had decided the world definitely needs another AvantGarde musical journey, sounding somewhere between “The Pharcyde” on crystal meth (well, at times Pharcyde did sound like they were on crystal meth!?) and Sydney Poitier on “Guess Who’s Coming For Dinner”.  You heard some dazed suburban kids voicing inscrutable anger and depression about a cruel world they hadn’t figured out yet, reflecting nuances of being lost and forgotten and on a hunt for fallen spirituality.

The “New World Order” was a term I was familiar with, but the Boogiemonsters were the first collective to dedicate four-minute-songs to its concept. They offered alternatives with their nerdy prophecies, questioning the fundamentals of our society (“The devil sees the world as a girl from the back / Eyeing, sighing, dying to get a crack at the middle”). This is the reason nobody would check for them back then! I knew this girl back in my old days who would always hit me with the most obscure suggestions what songs and albums I should get and the “Riders Of The Storm” was one of them. I would listen to a couple of tracks (”Recognized Thresholds of Negative Stress”, “Mark of the Beast” and “Riders of the Storm”) only to grow tired of the whole vibe and trash the tape. But this particular album had a life of its own and every time I would look for such and such, I ended up putting this album back on in my stereo and I started to develop a certain appreciation for it. That’s when I fell in love with tracks like “Strange” and “Muzik” where they portrayed music as a woman before Common dropped “I Used To Love Her” a couple of months later that year.

Like I said, the subject matter could feel annoying at times and although the music turned out to be more than flawless, the overall feeling of this album stays refreshing. Now that I think about it, this must be the crown-jewel for backpack extravaganzas with its spaced-out format! When the Boogiemonsters released their sophomore “God Sound” in 1997 (by then, the four-man crew had turned to only two MCs: Apparently, the other two guys couldn’t continue to live the high-life of a boogie monster because of their personal convictions and religious beliefs!?), the freshness was long lost and had drifted away and after re-listening to their first album, I understood the generic quality of it. More than anything, this album is timeless!  A perfect start to your weekend!

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Nathan Smart October 8, 2010 at 9:12 am

And actually, this is probably the only time where label interference actually helped an album. My friends used to hang with Vex on occasion and when driving him to a show one time he talked about how the album was made. Originally, all the tracks weren’t so produced – they were super stripped down from what you hear (like the stuff on Vex’s solo albums). The label went in and added all the instrumentation like the guitars and bass and all of that. This album is so classic and it’s weird to think of what it would’ve been without all the extra production. Of course, Vex looks at it in the same way that Paul McCartney looks at Phil Spector’s treatment of Let it Be, but I happen to think they are both wrong.

flip October 8, 2010 at 12:10 pm

wasn´t LG experience producing the album? he also did stuff on Ill Al Skratch´s first album but he´s been mia since longtime. wonder what happened to him. i always liked his stuff. boogiemonsters was ahead of time concerning fx on vocal tracks, like distortion, flangers etc. i liked “god sound” too

Vincent October 9, 2010 at 2:52 am

This album never gets old. It just so happens that I keep the original CD right near my computer for constant replay. Also, don’t sleep on the remixes and instrumentals. They are worth a Google search if you can find them.

Pooch October 11, 2010 at 7:46 am

D! & LG handled to the drum programming. D! was the main producer of the album, and he was Marley Marl’s cousin. Boogiemonsters and Lords of the Underground (one of Marley’s Marl’s groups) were both on Pendulum at the time, as well as Digable Planets, Dream Warriors, and Heather B. That was a dope label, as far as the talent that they held.


Recaptcha words – persistent and wabbduc. WTF is a wabbduc????

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